Local students find their way to higher education at Broken Hill Learning Week 2013

3 July 2013

More than 200 Broken Hill high school students will get a head start on their path to higher education at Broken Hill Learning Week, an innovative program run by the University of Sydney to provide academic enrichment and encourage students to consider taking on university.

The event, which runs from 26 to 28 June, will include teachers and students in years 10, 11 and 12 from schools including Broken Hill High School and Willyama High School.

Students will have the opportunity to learn study skills and exam techniques, prepare for their upcoming HSC exams in a range of subjects, and take part in a range of fun activities such as creating a stop-motion video and learning about the business world through interactive case studies.

Approximately 30 teachers will take part in courses on HSC skills and exam techniques for teachers, the new K-10 English syllabus, and a creative writing workshop.

"Students from rural areas perform well academically and contribute a lot to the university community, but unfortunately they're underrepresented in Australian tertiary education," says Annette Cairnduff, Director of Social Inclusion at the University of Sydney.

"With Broken Hill Learning Week, we hope to give students and their teachers a better idea of how to navigate their path to university, as well as find out more about what a tertiary education can offer. Our ultimate goal is to give all rural students the confidence and know-how to go after their career dreams, whatever they may be."

This is the second year of Broken Hill Learning Week, following the popularity of the inaugural event in 2012. The project was developed by the University's Social Inclusion Unit in consultation with the Broken Hill Senior Education Director, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, and local schools and community members.

The University of Sydney has been involved with the Broken Hill community for 16 years, since the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health opened in 1997.

Since then, the University and Broken Hill City Council have worked together on a number of initiatives, mainly associated with student placements, health outcomes for the community, and sustainability and business strategies.

The University Department of Rural Health last year celebrated its 15-year milestone with a special unveiling of a new $1.8 million Clinical Simulation Building by federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek. The University and Broken Hill City Council also signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cement their commitment to educational research, professional and service learning development in the region.